Smart Phones and BuildIT

(Update: Please note the date of this article - lots has changed in 7 years !!)

BuildIT has always had an "app" - our main system is a desktop/widescreen app, fully web based (always will be), and is used most often by our customers. You can access it here: https://www.builditsystems.net

We also offer a mobile/smartphone app, designed to be responsive (it automatically adjusts to suit your screen size and orientation) and data-connected, meaning our system doesn't care whether you are using an Android device, or an iOS/iPhone/iPad. Just log in using your same username and password here: https://m.builditsystems.net)

Both apps work on all browsers, but you'll find the mobile/smartphone app is better for quickly accessing job/contact information in the field, making adjustments and entries to existing tasks, and grabbing your web mail. Use the desktop/widescreen version back at the office for more of the "heavy lifting" tasks, creating documents, starting jobs and building schedules.

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With the massive proliferation of smart phones in recent months, and their adoption en masse by contractors and field personnel, we're getting a lot of enquiries about whether BuildIT has "an app" available.

It's not a question of whether we will build one, it's when.

An "app" is specifically designed for a small screen device and is fairly "light weight" in terms of feature set. And they're all the rage now. There are goofy ones (like the Orc detector... you can tell if one of your friends is an Orc from Lord of the Rings, then of course, you'd have to kill him)... then there are those designed for productivity.

But what we've found is most customers are having success using iPhones, Android smart phones, iPads etc. with BuildIT as is. All you need is a web browser, and you can access your BuildIT account.

I've been using a Samsung Galaxy smart phone for a few months now, and can easily access most of the functions and controls in BuildIT. And while there are some current limitations (that will likely be solved as 1000's of smart phone customers clog up tech support lines and online technical forums), we see most BuildIT customers benefiting from wireless access to the system with these devices.

Case in point - prior to writing this, I just spent 18 minutes on my smart phone, logged into my BuildIT account.

Here's what I did:

1. Created a new job (Martin Residence)

2. Entered a schedule template of 28 tasks related to a kitchen renovation.

3. Modifed durations of 2 tasks using the Gantt popup power bar... watch the schedule adjust in real time.

4. Set 1 task to 100% completed - keeps the schedule up to date.

5. Entered specific details in one of the tasks... while it was on my mind.

6. Entered a note tied to the Martin Residence... for others on my team to reference

7. Assigned a task to a sub contractor... so he would know where he's supposed to be, and when.

8. Created a standard "invitation to tender" from the myriad of construction document templates available to all BuildIT users.

9. Faxed that invitation to tender to a contact on my team (and was messaged minutes later from him about that fax he received!!).

10. Created a calendar appointment tied to the project... where other BuildIT users can see so they know when my time is booked.

11. Sent a text message to a contact (the contents of which get stored in BuildIT in the "sent email" folder, and tied to the Martin Residence).

12. Then logged out and got on with my day.

You don't have to be a 13 year old with lightning fast thumbs to make BuildIT work on a smart phone. Just an interest in becoming more productive and taking advantage of the technology to allow you to manage your business and make decisions wherever you happen to be.

Imangine: you and/or your employees accomplishing this much in 18 minutes for your business... from the truck !

Personally, I find it easier to be in front of a computer typing on a regular keyboard, and viewing a large monitor, but I don't always have that luxury, and neither will you or your employees.

Make the jump soon to becoming "untethered, and get more out of BuildIT.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Create professional construction documents now!

If it's important for your business to "get it in writing," then using pre-formatted construction document templates will help you prior to starting the job, during construction, and after the work is done.

With BuildIT's easy-to-use document generator, you'll be able to create and edit a wide range of construction documents from any internet connected computer. These documents will be branded with your letterhead and company logo to build your reputation and professionalism. You'll be in good company as this system has been used on 1000's of project to create 1000's of documents similar to these samples.


click the images above to see editable samples

Here's how it works:

It helps if your jobs are entered into BuildIT, and that your contact database is uploaded. We can help you with this as you're getting started. Job and contact information is entered into BuildIT only once. From there, the system re-uses it again and again where it's needed.

Next, start the BuildIT document generator.

Select a current project, and a contact to whom you want this document addressed to.

The system then auto-completes the construction document; these "forms" are designed such that the right information that already exists in BuildIT goes into the right field.

Finally, save the document to BuildIT, then either print it, fax it, or email it.

There are many advantages to this document system:

  • Saves a ton of data entry time.
  • Documents can be auto-filled with virtually any information from your company or project.
  • Send documents via email and fax with just a few clicks. Track versions of the same document.
  • Proprietary construction document templates (and custom letterhead) for your exclusive use can be created by our specialists.
  • Make multiple documents in one operation: avoid redundancy and mistakes.
  • Ideal for field staff submitting daily job reports.

You can access your construction documents now by starting your free test drive of the BuildIT system. No credit card. No risk. And you get full access to all parts of the system.

By doing so, you'll get 80+ professional construction documents included free of charge. You can use them in BuildIT, or download them to your hard drive. They are yours free whether you subscribe or not.

So start creating professional construction documents today... the easy way.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

BuildIT Software Update – version 2010.09 (September 2010)

“BuildIT Vets” know that our size and structure allows us to be agile, responsive, and economical for our customers.  And that feedback from our users is highly valued at BuildIT – often directly driving improvements and core development.  Our overall objectives – organizing, scheduling, and communicating – guides our team, and our priorities.

We are pleased to introduce that our latest version is available now and extends our toolset – making BuildIT more powerful, more rewarding, and more profitable for our users.

Scheduling – new Gantt “power bar”

Most BuildIT users create and update their schedule using the Gantt view (sometimes called a bar chart or construction timeline view).

With the new Gantt “power bar”, launched by clicking the button below the task name (and to the right of the # of working days), you can quickly make changes to that particular task:

  • Increase or decrease the duration of the task
  • Move the task forward or back by a day or a full week
  • Toggle the highlight of the task
  • Delete the task
  • Add contacts to the task

You’ll see the changes immediately upon clicking the buttons - no need to wait for the entire screen to refresh, nor do you need to open the entire task up. This will shave minutes off your scheduling daily, which adds up to hours saved at the end of the month.

PDF “super docs

PDF (or Adobe) documents have become an industry standard.  Contractors recognize that documentation is a big deal – it shows your professionalism and covers your butt, but proper documentation can be a pain in the butt to create.  It’s also one of the top reasons BuildIT customers subscribe to our service: we help our users create, store, share and send documents.

We are introducing a full range of cleanly formatted industry standard PDF document templates – or “super docs" – and more are on the way!

Super docs simply look better – much easier on the eyes – they work better too. They have your letterhead (automatically generated or fully customized). They can be saved in BuildIT or on your computer, and emailed to your contacts (either locked or editable).

Need a custom super doc? No problem: we help our customers create custom documents for their exclusive use – just email us your favorites (if you don’t already see what you need in the list of available templates) and we’ll get back to you.

In BuildIT simply click [Create New] > [Document].  Then look for the templates that have «PDF» to the right of their name, or simply uncheck the “text templates” and you’ll see just the super docs (more are being added all the time).

 

Some other new features since our last update:

1. Creating a new contact from an email – notice the new icon next to an email address in an inbound email? Click on it, and launch a new contact edit window, with that email address already filled in. Just enter additional contact details and save.

2. To do’s – they can now be moved to, or copied to, a different job. Use the yellow “do this” drop down menu for this feature.

3.  Favorites – you can now add a favorite in your “files” tab – just click on the button and type in or copy your link in the appropriate field. Create a link to a website and share that to your users, contacts, and by email.

4.  Calendar view on "schedule" tab - you can now view your tasks in a more familiar format.

5.  Email "read/unread" toggle - are your unread emails piling up, but you still wish to keep them on the system? Or have you viewed an email but wish to keep that hot potato hot by having it display as "unread"? Then use the new "do this" control to set checked emails to read/unread.

6.  We've added some more user account types - employee access accounts that are "email only", customer access accounts that can only view detail on ONE job. These user accounts are offered at discounted rates and may address some situations in your company where you want to restrict access to information but still keep key people "in the loop".

7. Have you checked your preferences?  We’ve added a bunch of new options in the last few months.  Have a look around to see if BuildIT is optimally configured to the way you work.

8. Infrastructure – you’ve come to expect that when you log into BuildIT, it works… every time.  To make that possible, we are constantly upgrading hardware and software components at our hosting facility. We’ve been known to do some heroic things at wee hours of the morning, so that when you log in the following morning, you are greeted by the login screen… and you get in. That’s a major benefit to a hosted service – we take care of the hardware requirements, you just use the system, knowing that you’re always working off the most up-to-date version.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1